The stress of life can be good or bad. It isn’t the stress itself that is either harmful or beneficial. It is what we do with that stress that matters.
There is a Greek Proverb that says, “You will break the bow if you keep it always bent.”
During the archery class I took my sophomore year of college, we strung and unstrung our bows before and after each session on the archery range. To some that may seem like a waste of time, especially since classes followed ours that would use the same bows, but this routine had its purpose.
If the bows were left strung, they might break under the constant stress it took to bend the bow and keep the string taut. While this amount of stress could be detrimental if left unstrung between users, this same stress served the necessary purpose of allowing the string on the bow to be tight enough to shoot a straight arrow.
The stress of life behaves in the same way. Too much, and we might break either emotionally or physically. Too little, and we may not be able to work at top efficiency.
One of my psychology professors explained stress as being similar to the strings on a violin. Too much stress, the strings will break. Not enough stress, the strings won’t perform as they should.
When we encounter certain potentially dangerous situations, like a child dashing out in front of our car, the stress produces an adrenaline rush that causes us to avoid the child. That’s good stress.
More times than not, though, we carry stressful things around with us, allowing them to keep us worried, anxious, and unproductive. For me, I tighten the muscles through my shoulders and jaw when overly stressed. When I sense that happening, I have to tell myself to relax and unstring the bow.
If we constantly put ourselves in situations we know will create unhealthy levels of stress, perhaps we need to re-evaluate those areas and look for ways to unstring the bow.
One habit I’m trying to rid myself of is allowing stressful scenarios to keep running around and around in my brain; worrying about things I cannot control. Instead, I need to recognize them for what they are and do what I can do; turn them over to God.
How do you manage your stressful situations?
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Give all your cares to the Lord and He will give you strength. He will never let those who are right with Him be shaken. Psalm 55:22 (NLV)
You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.
I wish you well.
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